16 January 2009

Things I've Learned - Diapers

Today, a post all about diapers.

Before I became a mom, I'd changed diapers. I remember my twelve year old self in a babysitting course dutifully learning to fold cloth diapers and pin them on a baby doll. Throughout my teens, I'd babysat. In my twenties, I looked after friends' babies from time to time. So when I became pregnant, I felt like I was a veteran. I was no stranger to the diapering concept. Everything else was foreign, but for this, I was dialed in.

Nonetheless, when it came time to change my little boy's diaper for the first time, I was all thumbs. There I was, in the hospital, in the middle of the night, surrounded by people (including my sleeping husband) but for all intents and purposes, alone. With this little person less than 24 hours old who needed everything from me. Daunting!

We had decided to use cloth diapers before he was born. People thought I was crazy (many still do!) but I wanted to try it. I just couldn't stand the notion of disposable diapers and contributing that much garbage to a landfill. If my son is going to leave a legacy, I thought, let him determine what it will be. Not a pile of feces laden indestructible plastic for the generations. I digress - I'll save that rant for a future post...

Digging out the cloth diapers and covers I'd packed so lovingly in the hospital bag almost a month before, I set to work.

Babies, unlike the doll in my long ago class, squirm. They've never worn diapers before. And they don't really like to be naked and exposed after all those months of being completely sheltered and warm at all times. So he squirmed. And he cried. And as he squirmed, equipment and supplies scattered. And as he cried, I became frantic, and made a messy situation messier.

Eventually I managed to get him diapered and swaddled and settled back into his bassinet. I looked around and took stock of my first real MOM experience. The room was a shambles around me. I had used every wash cloth they give you in your room in the hospital. My gown (I'd had a c-section) was askew. My hair was crazy-homeless-medusa style. My brow was furrowed. And sweaty.

An hour or so later, when the nurse came in to check on us, (by the way, don't expect to get ANY sleep in the hospital as there is always someone coming in to check on you) I learned that I could have just buzzed for her and she would have changed his diaper for me in about 32 seconds. But the sense of accomplishment I'd felt getting it done myself was worth it. And she was kind enough to tidy up what I'd scattered, and bring a fresh supply of wash cloths. And she did so without judgment, just a smile, telling me I was the only new mom she had ever encountered who did it myself without calling on a nurse. I think I beamed.

Since then my husband and I have changed over 2000 diapers. We're getting the hang of it.

  1. Pointer pointing down. If you have a boy, this is vitally important. If his penis is pointing up, he will soak his entire stomach and chest the moment he pees, no matter how absorbent his diaper is, and how waterproof the diaper cover. We learned this the hard way. There I found myself, struggling in the ladies' room of the Imperial to change not just his diaper, but all of his clothes as well.
  2. If you're using cloth diapers, keep in mind that wicks are made of cloth. When you think you're done with a change, before snapping up that cute onesie and putting those tiny pants back on, check all around the diaper cover openings: legs, front, and back. Tuck in any hint of cloth sticking out, or you'll find yourself in the ladies' room of the Imperial, changing not just his diaper, but all of his clothes as well.
  3. Diaper cream is messy. And sticky. And gooey. Put a clean diaper under your baby before you smear that stuff on. Or you'll find yourself in the ladies' room of the Imperial, wiping diaper cream off their marble counter.

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